Unlock Your Creative Self with this Easy Art Therapy Activity
Looking for an inner wellspring of happiness? Unlock your Creative Self.
Your Creative Self is a reservoir of riches. Creative Self will help you feel better when you’re down and ground you when you’re happy.
Most of us locked Creative Self away at some point during the education process, as we gradually learned to stiffen and repress the unpredictable, spontaneous aspects of our nature. We did this to fit in with society’s expectations and requirements of us, which generally involved making us more boring and docile.
But now we’re grown up, and we can revive Creative Self for our own reasons – because we miss our juicy aliveness, the surprise and delight of play, and the satisfaction of self-expression.
The following easy activity can help you get in touch with your Creative Self. It’s important not to judge or have high expectations, because Creative Self doesn’t like that, so make sure you make it an ego-free zone as best as you can. It doesn’t have to be good art. Just doing it is the point.
Expressive Mark Making: This Easy Art Activity Unlocks Your Creative Self
What you’ll need: markers, crayons, pencils or pastels and paper
- Let Your Body Choose Materials
Choose some mark-making tools, such as markers or crayons. Test the tools and see which ones you want to use. Rather than choosing from the mind, see if you can let your body sense decide what colors and materials it wants to play with today. If you listen, body sense will have very clear preferences.
It’s important for this exercise that you like how the mark-making feels. If you have very saturated pens, you may like how the paper soaks up the ink. Or you may like the waxy resist of a crayon, the dry chalk of a pastel. Ask the body sense within you to choose based on what feels interesting or appealing today.
If you’re not sure what is meant by “body sense”, imagine closing your eyes and touching two pieces of material – tin foil and velvet. With your eyes closed, how can you tell the difference between the materials?
Feeling the differences, does it make you want to do different things with the material? Crumple one piece, or touch it to your cheek, for example? That’s the body sense that tells you exactly what it wants to do with materials, and it’s very connected to Creative Self.
- Express Yourself
Once you’ve chosen your mark-making tools, start making marks on your paper without making anything specific (you’re not “drawing”, just making marks).
Just like you did as a kid, before you knew how to draw “things”, circle and move around the whole paper, following your urges of movement. Notice the sounds of your mark-making and the feeling you get from scraping your tool across the surface.
If you start to feel an instinct to move faster or slower, to make heavy or lighter marks, go with that.
Allow yourself to create at least 3 full-page scribble creations before you stop and reflect.
- Look at Your Work
After completing at least 3 pages of expressive mark-making, stop and look at what you’ve done. Allow yourself to gently take in the cloudy, liminal, abstract beauty you’ve made.
See how much speed, weight, and energy is recorded in the marks you made. Can you detect the motion, direction, and feeling of your own emotions, reflected there? What does looking at your drawing feel like to your body sense?
- Name Your Pieces and Find out More
Give each of your pieces a title. Now write a short paragraph from the point of view of your drawing, giving it a chance to speak to you. Start with the words “I am…”
For example, if I named my silver, greenish bluish crayon piece “The Silver Tide”, then I would begin “I am the Silver Tide. I hold the secrets of your dreamworld, what you have forgotten but comes back to you, unbidden…”
Try it and see what your drawings have to say to you!
How does this Easy Art Therapy Activity Unlock Your Creative Self?
When you play in the pre-verbal, pre-symbolic realm of expressive markings, you return to how you were as a young child, before writing and representation taught you to focus on abstract concepts over felt experience. This exercise, therefore, is a direct line to the Inner Child. And in the words of Picasso, “every child is an artist”.
This childlike realm of feeling, impulse and body sense is where Creative Self thrives.
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